Monday, January 4, 2010

The Jazz Kitchen

Oil pop, pop, popping, mushrooms, carrots, snap peas, shrimp big as butterflies, spicy chicken, red chilies’ flung in a huge steel pan, dancing together like a hot cha, cha, cha. That symphony of image and scent, going down on a Saturday Texas night. Like jazz with maracas thrown in. No, not a concert, but sitting ringside at a Japanese eatery, savoring the show. We only got the seats because tables were full. Just what I wanted but didn’t know it. Life is providential that way. Even in little things.

As I watched those chefs like players in a boisterous garage band, spicing, tossing, clattering and fine tuning, each part of the whole, producing with little effort, I thought of muses. Great kitchen muses up and pinching them with music, and plumes of aroma’s, they in the vortex. When smoking dishes were finally placed under our noses, the food almost felt anointed. And I’m not kidding. I ate slow and appreciated every decadent bite. If only I could remember to savor the everyday when I rise, shower, love, write, cook, clean, and read. To feel and see and hear subtle notes unfolding to a sticky, sweet, spicy crescendo. I will try to remember.

But now to the fortune cookie.

To find the hidden message the sugary golden cookie must be snapped open. I’m as anxious to do this as an enthralled little kid, digging in a Lucky Charm box and pulling up pots of gold, or four leaf clovers, or a wee rainbow. I was that kid. Still am some days. And, ahem… surely some will remember the surprises in the Cracker Jack boxes, back when our spin on the world was fresh as a bright blue lyric.

Here’s the reveal in that crisp cookie:GREAT ACTS OF KINDNESS WILL BEFALL YOU IN THE COMING MONTHS. Yeah, I know it’s cheesy, but this one made my heart leap. Don’t we all need this message? Without this our notes would flat line, both on the giving and receiving end. Anyway, I saved it. Put it in my tiny box with the others. I will pull those out from time to time, when notes go flat and I remember the unseen on a level close to song.


  1. Oh, you made me hungry. Eating is my other hobby.

    I don't know if I should admit this in writing, but last week I entered a short story contest because my fortune cookie said "The proper response to knowledge is action." And I had just gained knowledge of that particular competition a few hours before. See? It makes sense.

    Great post and a great reminder to at least TRY to savor every moment of life.

  2. Dorraine,

    We are lucky to have right attitude about fortune cookies. I love them, and I believe all the good messages. But I just realized that I haven’t had them for a long time. In Japan, I’ve never seen them because fortune cookies are not Chinese or Japanese. I heard once that it was born in Canada.

    A few days ago, I had dim sum in Chinatown. The restaurant’s been there since 1970s, and they used to serve fortune cookies without fail. Well, I didn’t receive it. How unlucky I was! Without fortune cookies, restaurants should not call themselves Chinese restaurants in my opinion.

  3. May that fortune cookie come true. Kindness is always a good thing.

    I was thinking of making a stir fry tonight too. I'll finish up here at the cyber cafe and go by some vegs. I've got the noodles back at the flat.


  4. It makes sense to me, Yvette! And I hope you win it too. Meanwhile, as you said, let's savor those moments!

  5. Keiko, a friend mentioned that fortune cookies were an American invention, but that could be wrong also. Hmmm....sounds like a little digging is needed.

    Shoot, you should have gotten your fortune cookie! But I wouldn't count that as anything other than someone being forgetful. You can buy fortune cookies in the grocery stores here. I'll have to send you a box. Then you could have one every day!

  6. Oh, that stir fry sounds great, Jai! I'll bet you can find all kinds of unusual veggies there. And thank you for the wish. See, that was very kind. :-)

  7. I read this post yesterday at work when it came up but for some reason, I can't comment from my handheld device. I can't comment on my on blog either. Most blogs I can. Haven't figured it out yet.

    I was practically doing the cha, cha, cha myself as I read. This post is so brings out all the senses: visual, audio, aroma, kinesthesia and mmm, good tastes and emotions. Such a great piece to savor. You are worthy of all the coming great acts of kindness.

  8. Dorrine! What a GREAT post! First you made my mouth water,....then you made me realize, how wonderful & necessary it is to savor...kindness!

    Thank you!


  9. I can see you doing that cha, cha, cha, Ronda! Thank you for the gift of comment, always. And for your sincere words. They made my heart smile. :-)

  10. Great to see you around, Jennifer. I missed you. Thank you so much for stopping in.

  11. Great fortune! I hope it comes true. :)

  12. great post...mouth watering ;0)

  13. So glad you weren't too Eternally Distracted to stop by and leave your nice comment. Thank you!

  14. Hello Dorraine, visiting from Jai Joshi's.

    I think I have stumbled onto a group of awesome writers. I am glad.

    Beautifully written post on relevant subjects of food, kindness and wishes.

  15. Thank you, Ocean Girl, for the follow and comment! I look forward to getting to know you.:-)